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London Stocks Rise in Holiday Thinned Trade

12/24/2021 | 05:34am EDT

London stocks were rose in holiday-thinned trading on Friday, the last session before an extended Christmas break.

The London Stock Exchange will close around midday, and remain closed until Wednesday.

"The U.K. index is enjoying its fourth day of gains, trading at six-week highs and inching closer to the next major resistance hurdle at 7,400," said Victoria Scholar, head of investment at interactive investor, in a note to clients. Gains for banks, pharmaceutical groups, miners and energy names were supporting the main index.

Looking back at some of the year's best performers, Scholar highlighted Ashtead. Shares of the industrial equipment rental company are up more than 70%, outperforming the FTSE 100 and the best performer on the FTSE 350 over the past decade, she said, citing data from Refinitiv.

"It reported a record performance in its latest earnings and upgraded its full-year guidance with rental revenue benefiting from the global economic reopening this year," said the strategist. Ashtead shares slipped 0.4% on Friday.

At the other end was online grocer and logistics group Ocado, "despite kicking off the year on a positive note after 2020's outperformance for the stay-at-home basket," she said . "The stock is down almost 40% since the peak in February as the reopening trade hit food delivery businesses." Ocado shares rose 1.7% on Friday.

Travel stocks continued to rise, repeating action seen through much of the week.

That's even amid holiday travel disruptions due to industrial action on some trains, and a spread of COVID-19 among essential workers. In the U.S., United Airlines and Delta have already canceled dozens of flights over the weekend, partly due to cases impacting crews.

A preliminary study from the U.K. Health Security Agency released Thursday showed the omicron variant of the coronavirus resulted in 50% to 70% fewer hospitalizations than delta. However, it also showed that vaccine boosters began to wane after roughly 10 weeks, though protection against hospitalizations and severe disease is believed to hold up.

The U.K. saw another record breaking cases on Thursday, with 119,789 reported. Contagion fears have hit the hospitality sector hard due to cancellations of holiday parties and gatherings. The government may announce new restrictions after the Christmas break.

 
Companies News: 

Babcock International Completes Sale of UK Power Business for GBP50 Mln

Babcock International Group PLC said Friday that it has completed the sale of its power business to M Group Services for a cash consideration of 50 million pounds ($67.1 million).

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Reckitt Benckiser Proposes Sale of E45 Brands to Karo Pharma

Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC said Friday it is proposing to sell its E45 skincare brand and related sub-brands to Karo Pharma AB for an implied enterprise value of 200 million pounds ($268.2 million).

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Capita to Sell AMT Sybex for up to GBP40 Mln

Capita PLC said Friday that it has agreed to sell AMT Sybex to Jonas Computing (UK) Ltd. for up to 40 million pounds ($53.6 million).

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DCD Media 1H Results Were Stable Despite Covid-19 Disruptions

DCD Media PLC reported Friday a stable set of results for the first half of fiscal 2022, and said its underlying performance was consistent with that in the year-earlier period, and also in line with management expectations.

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Kazera Global Gets More Time to Report FY 2021 Results; Sees Widened Loss

Kazera Global PLC said Friday it has been granted an additional period of three months to publish its results for fiscal 2021, which are expected to be marked by a widened loss.

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Trafalgar Property 1H Pretax Loss Widened, Revenue Fell

Trafalgar Property Group PLC said Friday that its pretax loss widened in the first half of fiscal 2022, with a sharp fall in revenue, due to the impact of long planning delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Thruvision Says Executive Chairman Increased Shareholding at Discount

Thruvision Group PLC said Friday that Executive Chairman Tom Black on Thursday purchased 1.8 million shares in the company at a discounted price.

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Science Group Agrees New GBP25 Mln Banking Facility

Science Group PLC said Friday that it has agreed a new banking facility worth up to 25 million pounds ($33.5 million).

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Barkby Group FY 2021 Pretax Loss Widened; Confident About a Return to Profit

Barkby Group PLC on Friday reported a widened pretax loss for fiscal 2021, though it said it is in a position to return to profitability backed by its commercial-property division's performance.

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Deepmatter Group Shares Drop on Share-Placing at Significant Discount

Shares in Deepmatter Group PLC on Friday fell after the company said it aims to raise gross proceeds of 2.6 million pounds ($3.5 million) via a placing and subscription at a material discount.

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Thailand's Central Group, Austria's Signa to Acquire U.K.'s Selfridges

Central Group, a sprawling retail and real-estate conglomerate run by one of Thailand's richest families, has agreed to acquire British luxury retailer Selfridges Group along with an Austrian partner, marking the latest step in the Thai retail empire's aggressive expansion in Europe.

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Infrastructure India 1H Pretax Loss Widened; In Talks to Sell IEL, DLI

Infrastructure India PLC on Friday reported a widened pretax loss for the first half of fiscal 2022, as the company is looking to sell assets to continue meeting its liabilities.

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Dev Clever Requests Trading Suspension on AIM Market as It Awaits FCA Approval for Takeover

Dev Clever Holdings PLC said Friday that it has requested the suspension of its listing on the AIM market until the Financial Conduct Authority approves the eligibility of the enlarged group with Veative Labs Pte Ltd.

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MAC Alpha Starts Trading on LSE's Main Market

MAC Alpha Ltd. said Friday its shares have begun trading on the London Stock Exchange's Main Market.

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Rosseti Lenenergo Appoints Igor Kuzmin as Director General

Rosseti PJSC said Friday that Rosseti Lenenergo PJSC's board has appointed Igor Kuzmin as the director general.

 
Market Talk: 

UK 10Y Gilt Yields Remain Elevated as Omicron Fears Linger

1006 GMT - U.K. borrowing costs over a 10-year period trade near a one-month high as fears over fresh Omicron-related restrictions linger. "The country is gripped by fears of a renewed lockdown," says Societe Generale's Klaus Baader. The widespread expectation is that some fresh restrictions will be introduced in the days immediately after Christmas to quell the rapid spread of the Omicron variant through the country, he says, noting that the U.K. government has already been advised to introduce a two-week circuit-breaker lockdown. January business survey data should provide "a serious idea of the likely impact," he adds. The 10-year gilt yield trades last at 0.918%, according to Tradeweb.

Contact: London NewsPlus, Dow Jones Newswires; Write to Sarka Halas at sarka.halas@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

12-24-21 0534ET

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ASHTEAD GROUP PLC 1.98% 3922 Delayed Quote.-35.27%
BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL GROUP PLC 1.77% 322.2 Delayed Quote.-0.63%
BARKBY GROUP PLC -4.17% 11.5 Delayed Quote.-37.66%
CAPITA PLC 2.02% 23.26 Delayed Quote.-37.53%
DEEPMATTER GROUP PLC 0.00% 0.13 Delayed Quote.-71.11%
DEV CLEVER HOLDINGS PLC 1.01% 30 Delayed Quote.0.00%
FTSE 100 0.51% 7522.75 Delayed Quote.1.35%
HERALD INVESTMENT TRUST PLC -1.65% 1672 Delayed Quote.-32.14%
INFRASTRUCTURE INDIA PLC 0.00% 0.525 Delayed Quote.-22.22%
LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE PLC 0.11% 7314 Delayed Quote.5.43%
RECKITT BENCKISER GROUP PLC -0.29% 6212 Delayed Quote.-1.77%
SCIENCE GROUP PLC 0.00% 405 Delayed Quote.-10.99%
THRUVISION GROUP PLC 0.68% 29.8 Delayed Quote.5.71%
TRAFALGAR PROPERTY GROUP PLC 2.94% 0.525 Delayed Quote.-21.54%
UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS, INC. 2.46% 42.58 Delayed Quote.-5.05%
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